Equatorial Guinea — Festivals and Events
All major Christian holidays are recognized in Equatorial Guinea. Independence Day is celebrated annually on October 12. There are 11 public observances every year, some influenced by worldwide celebrations (like Women’s Day and New Year’s Day), while others are specific to the region (like President’s Day and Constitution Day). There are also city-wide events such as the famous Malabo Hip-Hop Festival.
New Year’s Day
Every year on January 1, Equatorial Guinea celebrates the arrival of the upcoming year along with the rest of the world. A New Year’s Eve Gala and fireworks display is organized by the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism as a charity event, and it is broadcast throughout the country.
Africa Cup of Nations
One of the continent’s largest sporting events, the Africa Cup of Nations is a soccer tournament held every two years with participation from 16 national teams. A highly anticipated event, it was hosted in Equatorial Guinea in 2012, from January 21 to February 12.
President’s Day is Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo’s birthday, which is celebrated annually on June 5. He has been the political leader of Equatorial Guinea since 1979 and is known for ousting his dictator uncle, Francisco Macias Nguema.
Music Day Festival
This festival is hosted by SOMAGEC and the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism to celebrate Equatorial Guinea’s heritage. Renowned dancers, artists and musicians flock to Malabo to perfor in front of thousands. In 2012, Music Day Festival was held on July 28, but the dates change yearly.
Armed Forces Day
August 3 is Equatorial Guinea’s Armed Forces Day to honor the military. It is treated as a public holiday where members of the armed forces gather together for a feast filled with food and drinks. Exhibitions are also held to showcase key achievements.
Equatorial Guinea celebrates its Independence Day on October 12. This public holiday commemorates the country’s freedom from Spanish colonization. All public facilities are closed.
Malabo Hip Hop Festival
A 10-day event held every year in December, the celebrations are often hosted by the Institute of Cultural Expression. Performers in the hip-hop community from all over Africa attend workshops and events hosted by artists from Europe (particularly Spain and France).
Equatorial Guinea is mostly Roman Catholic, so the country celebrates Christmas every December 25. Apart from Christian festivities, traditional celebrations are also held like the dance known as balélé in the Bioko region. In the cities, friends and families celebrate together by eating, drinking and exchanging gifts. Equatorial Guineans also decorate their homes with the usual decorations, including lights and Christmas trees.